Hundreds of students walk right past SC101 every day without a second glance. Others are familiar with the programs offered there, and many have helped our community by participating in the blood drives and food drives they regularly organize.

But there are few students who have taken advantage of the volunteer opportunities that can help their degrees.

Kaydee Lemonds- Knepper at the Volunteer and Service Learning Center said she would like to see more students take advantage of the programs there.

In addition to the resume bullets, experience gleaned, and the “warm fuzzies” people get from performing volunteer work, students can gain a Service Learning Distinction to go along with their degree, and may even be able to gain a grant through AmeriCorps.

All it takes is logging some volunteer hours and filling out some paperwork. Service Learning distinctions have three categories: Engaged, which focuses of leadership; Community, which focuses on service; and Academic, which focuses on service learning.

With the Obama presidency ushering in a new “Era of Service,” there is no time like the present to get involved. Popular programs include blood drives which are coordinated with the Red Cross and take place twice every year; food drives, sock drives, and coat drives for needy families; Habitat for Humanity, United Way volunteer studies, 4H youth mentoring (background check required), and the occasional 5K.

For those who have no time to participate in these, you can simply stop by at The Zone right outside SC101 on Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and log in an hour or so of service.

Failing all else, you can always go online and adopt a trumpeter swan, a whale, a husky, or virtually anything else. Just run a Google search starting with “adopt a…” and all kinds of opportunities will pop up.

On Saturday, Feb. 7, the Volunteer and Service Learning Center will hold its first annual No Snow Indoor 5K here on campus at 8 a.m. in the McKay Events Center. The registration fee of $10 gets you a t- shirt and pancakes, and all proceeds benefit the Habitat for Humanity of Utah County house.

“I am very impressed with the quality of volunteers we’ve had,” Lemonds-Knepper said.

People are willing to work hard to help their community and their world, and these opportunities encourage others to help and build a rapport with community members and organizations.

For more information, stop by at SC101, e-mail or visit